ASU Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity causes outrage after MLK-themed party

Video by Sean Logan | Multimedia Producer

Local civil rights leaders held a press conference on the Downtown campus in response to a Tau Kappa Epsilon party that they called racist.

Civil rights leader Rev. Jarrett Maupin told a crowd of reporters that the actions TKE engaged in on the eve of MLK day were a minstrel show.

“They felt it was a time for them to act like blacks, dress like blacks, wear blackface, drink from watermelon cups and (they) even used the N-word,” he said.

Maupin said he demands that TKE be banned from ASU.

“We are demanding action, and there should be no compromise,” he said. “We are calling out any and all students who were involved to be expelled.”

Maupin said he is displeased by a lack of response from ASU President Michael Crow.

“If Crow doesn’t meet with us, we are boycotting the construction of Sun Devil Stadium,” he said.

(Photo by Sean Logan)

Civil rights leader Rev. Jarrett Maupin speaks at a press conference in response to Tau Kappa Epsilon’s party on the Downtown campus on Jan. 21. Maupin demanded that TKE be banned from ASU. (Photo by Sean Logan)

The Black African Coalition has released a statement in regard to the recent actions of TKE. It said TKE’s actions not only disgraced their organization but also all African-Americans who attend ASU.

“Not only are we appalled at the total disrespect that TKE has showcased for our culture, we are in complete disbelief that they have taken the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a pillar of progress within our society, in vain,” it said.

ASU spokeswoman Julie Newberg said TKEhas been on disciplinary probation with the University since 2012.

“The party TKE held last weekend was not held on campus and was not a sanctioned University event,” she said. “Because of the latest incident, ASU has suspended chapter operations, can and will take additional action against the individuals involved and is meeting with the national TKE organization today to take further action against the chapter.

Rev. Luther Holland, of the First Institution Baptist, speaks of this state's and our country's civil rights. Behind him, two ASU students display a photo of Martin Luther King Jr in remembrance of his honor and service to the civil rights movement. (Photo by Rachel Nemeh)

Luther Holland, the chair of the First Institutional Baptist Church Community Development Corporation, speaks of how TKE’s actions reminded him of the civil rights movement at a press conference at the Downtown campus on Jan. 21. Behind him, two women display a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo by Rachel Nemeh)

Luther Holland, the chair of the First Institutional Baptist Church Community Development Corporation, said TKE’s actions reminded him of when Emmett Till was beaten and murdered 60 years ago for whistling at a white woman.

“I’m encouraging the University to take positive steps to change this,” he said. “If ASU continues to allow racism, we will tell our brothers and sisters to go elsewhere. This isn’t a threat. This is a promise.”

 

 

Reach the reporter at kgrega@asu.edu or follow her on twitter @KelcieGrega